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Thursday January 09, 2014 | 09:41 PM
Posted by David Epstein

There has been a lot of excitement about the possibility of seeing the aurora borealis  or northern lights tonight. These types of phenomena are difficult to predict.

I'll be updating my thoughts on the Aurora on Twitter @growingwisdom follow me there and send in your reports from around the world.

What we do know is that the aurora go through periods of activity and lulls.  There are numbers that predict the strength of the storm and these numbers give a good indication of how far south the storm will be seen.

On the following map, the Kp of 7 line is north of Boston and across southern New Hampshire.  If a prediction of a Kp of 7 or higher appears, then the chances are good to see the aurora storm.  

Here is a sample Kp forecast from earlier this evening.  Click here for the latest forecast.

The best place to look is north and the further south you are, the lower on the horizon the lights will appear.  The moon is a factor tonight, but skies remain clear as of mid-evening. I don’t expect clouds to be factor until the wee hours of the morning, perhaps after 3 or 4 AM. 

The aurora are one of those magical phenomena which once you see them, you will never forget.  I wish I could be more definitive as to whether or not you will see them tonight, but like many things in nature, we just have to wait and see.  A good site to check the latest forecast is here.

Good luck 

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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